Learning to Pray

In the beginning was the word, and every word a world;
every letter, the stuff of which a garden, a stream, a person
comes into being. With words entire worlds are made; with words,
and word-made things, Holy Utterance teaches us to pray.

Not the letters nor the words make a prayer, but the essence bursting
forth like entire fields of dandelion seeds—all hope and sorrow, joy
and dreaming, rising up on spoken breezes, returning to the One Breath,
breathing all that is.

Warm and crackling, like the embers
of creation, may we be ignited to pray
transformation like the damp, fecund earth, longing to be tilled and turned,
fruit-bearing ground—that flowers leave our lips, calling into chorus
a choir of chirping crickets, humming katydids, birdsong, and rustling leaves.
Together, may we join in singing forest-making, sea-shaping
songs—awakening, dancing, and circling round, calling up growing grasses,
wandering streams, and hillsides brimming full with swimming and flying,
swarming and hopping, crawling and burrowing things, and all that is,
now, is refreshed and renewed.

Gathered in, sheltered, opened and released,
like hummingbirds from tiny, high-nested eggs, may we word
belongingness into brave, unfettered acts of living-on against all that harms
thriving—not only for our own sake, but for those beside and behind us,
reaching out and in and casting wider and wider, until all are nested—

in this garden, renewing; may we begin to pray
in such a way that beginning teaches us to make beginning our way, wording,
breath upon breath, the stuff of which a living prayer is made communal,
harmonious—chanted, sung, laughed and sighed together, moment by moment,
into a collective utterance of ever-evolving Sacred-seeking movements;

and when we cry out, together or alone, in our need and in our receiving,
breathing all that is, our cries will be but a longing whisper.

author’s note:
Some sentiments here were inspired by Nahman of Bratzlav and Meshulem Heller.

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About liammichael

I am a gender theorist, theological activist, writer, trans activist-advocate, and educator. I also work directly with trans and LGBTQ persons through workshops, support activities, and community-building. My work is informed and shaped by a deep concern for addressing the intersecting layers of disenfranchisement and oppression which stymie our efforts to create a just and meaningful common good. I work with, consult with, educate, train public sector groups, secular groups, and faith groups seeking to be affirming, accommodating, and celebratory of trans/non-binary and gender non-conforming persons. This space is a small part of the work.
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